University of Oulu

Fighting the dark side : a scoping review of dark pattern mitigation

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Author: Helamo, Annika1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Pages: 66
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Helamo, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-06-22
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Rajanen, Mikko
Reviewer: Arhippainen, Leena
Rajanen, Mikko


As technology plays an ever-greater role in the everyday life of people, during the last decade there has been a rising concern about designers using their knowledge of human behaviour to design interfaces that trick users into doing things against their best interest. These design patterns are known as dark patterns, and the human-computer interaction and design communities have condemned their use. Informed by research, lawmakers have also started to form regulations against them. This thesis aimed to first introduce what the current state of dark pattern research is, and then answer the research question of how the usage of dark patterns could be mitigated. To answer the research question, a literature review in the form of scoping review was conducted. In scoping review, 28 articles that considered dark pattern mitigation were found to be relevant to the research question. Thematic analysis was used as a qualitative analysis method to identify common themes in articles. As a result, dark pattern mitigation tactics could be divided into seven different themes: company actions and economic value, regulating dark patterns, raising public awareness, tools for users, designing for the well-being of users, educating designers and developers, and enhancing dark pattern research. Mitigation tactics or propositions were then introduced in more detail under these themes. The results of the scoping review demonstrate that there is no one specific weapon to be used in the fight against dark patterns. On the contrary, different techniques from different fields need to be used together to effectively identify and mitigate dark patterns.

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Copyright information: © Annika Helamo, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.